May 31, 2010

She Comes, She Goes

My silence this weekend was in part due to the hectic goings-on of our closing weekend of The Irish Curse, a remarkable little play that touched my heart (and the hearts of many others) and marked my Off-Broadway debut here in New York. And it may have had something to do with the fact that my 2E's was in town after a two-month separation with 3,000 miles between us. We were occupied.

Our plan was to fly back to LA together on Wednesday morning ... but as it turns out, 2E's was summoned two days early for a pretty hefty commercial audition callback (cause she's, like, uber-talented), so she's on a plane at this very moment ... leaving me stranded in New York ... and leaving me, yet again, with a fair amount of homework.

(Being a groom is not unlike that chem class you take in your senior year of high school. The course in which you had to complete entire notebooks of lab work, tasks that were so daunting that you'd just stare at the empty pages for hours rather than just jumping in and getting it done. Only I'm answering to a bride and not to a disheveled, graying man in his early fifties. The latter now seems totally manageable.)

2E's and I have shifted our focus back to our Loft reception space -- and we are blessed in that, in our meanderings around the neighborhood, we stopped into Dewey's Candy shoppe on Front Street (thank you, sweet tooth), and in that shoppe found an updated brochure with all of the new neighborhood perks and resident artist lofts, and in that brochure found a few spaces that might serve as ceremony venues ... all within walking distance of our reception space ...

... so guess what I'm doing tomorrow.

Luckily my handy-dandy Best Man is in town to keep me company, sane and inebriated all at once. It's no easy task. He'll be joining me this evening as I scope out our second rehearsal dinner venue option, the Union Smith Cafe in BKLYN (our first option is a hip joint on 3rd Avenue with fantastic, upscale bar food and a sweet private room downstairs).

And so off I go. Because I can't afford to sit here in my cozy Upper West Side Starbucks any longer. I've got hundreds of empty, college-ruled papers to stare at.

May 24, 2010

Her Version of the Story

I'm saving my version of the story for September 2nd -- a month before the wedding -- when we begin the all-too-real countdown to the big day.

But for now, I'd like to introduce you to her side of the story, which is currently featured on the Community page on, and which Annie Jones from The Knot calls "Top 5!"

Our Proposal Story


May 21, 2010

Videography vs Filmography

We coined the first round of eliminations the IMDB Round -- because if you don't have your filmography on IMDB with at least 10 directorial or camera credits, then you shall not be considered. You will be eliminated. Simple as that. And 2E's better have heard of at least one of them.

(There's only one round at this point.)

We're really only now jumping into this conversation. Videography wasn't something we were originally planning on. For some reason -- probably because our lives are centered around photography -- we didn't really view it as a necessity. We know we're going to have some amazing images from our amazing photojournalist, Noah Devereaux. Won't that be sufficient? Do we need video, too?

When I reminded her of these important details during our most recent wedding phone date, 2E's explained what had happened. We'd actually never spoken about it. Instead, I had formed the above opinions on my own and then substituted the word "I" for "we" and passed it off as true. This is what actually happened.

And so our hunt for the best videographer at the cheapest price begins. For years, 2E's has viewed the Keira Knightley-centered, quick-cut, extreme close-up compilation in Love Actually as the epitome of all wedding videos -- so we need to find someone who can do that for much less than its worth.

The trouble is that she's already begun to gush. She's found some gush-worthy reels and sample videos from videographers who are out of our price range ... which doesn't mean (so I've learned) that we'll be choosing a cheaper videographer. No, it means that we'll be (a) cutting corners elsewhere or (b) upping our budget.

Here's 2E's shortlist as of this morning:

Michael Mann
Ridley Scott
Michael Coulter (Director of Photography, Love Actually)

Moral support. Moral support. Moral support.

May 18, 2010

if only we owned this city

Faithful reader, bridesmaid and longtime friend Julie has inspired me this morning. After reading this weekend's post, Julie decided to join the enthusiastic masses and send in her own #venuegate suggestions ... which included, most notably, a ceremony on "the sketchiest stretch of 16th street" (between 9th and 10th avenues) and catering by the legendary Hale & Hearty Soups, which may or may not have New England Clam Chower on the day of the wedding (based on availability).

For the past month I've been assembling a list of both practical and impractical venue options. Here, like it or not, are three of our favorite impracticals:

1. Gothic Revival Biscuits

2E's and I are both graduates of the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, one of the private "studios" linked to NYU's drama department. ATC's primary theater (The Linda Gross) is located at 336 West 20th Street between 8th and 9th avenues, a gothic revival church that was renovated, remodeled and converted into an Off-Broadway house over 20 years ago but still bears the elegance and (naturally) the theatricality of a century-old chapel. To be married at the ATC theater -- with its brick facades and red plush seats -- would be otherworldly.

The reception would have to be at the now overly trendy Chelsea Market, 19th century home of the National Biscuit Company, and now home to tourist-friendly shops, bakeries, restaurants and a wildly out-of-place Anthropologie outlet.

Why is it unrealistic? Well, despite our dual connection to ATC, as actors we know too well that a theater company cannot book out their space months in advance, especially when our nuptials might interfere with their matinee and/or evening performance. Too, we would have no control over the look of the space. For all we know, come October, the Atlantic could be producing Duncan Sheik's new Guantanamo: The Musical, with blood-stained orange jumpsuits adorning the walls and ceiling. As for Chelsea Market, well, I'm sure it's "do-able," but I would need to begin hunting down wedding investors. 

2. Apple Crawl

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the "pub crawl," but for the sake of those who aren't up-to-date on British slang, let's consult

A pub crawl is where a group of people will try to visit as many pubs as possible in one night, having a set number of alcoholic beverages in each.

In this exceptional but impossible scenario (financed by Steve Jobs himself), 2E's and our guests and I would "crawl" from one Manhattan Apple Store to another.

Working our way uptown, we would hit each of the Peter Bohlin-designed structures throughout the evening: a SoHo store wedding, 14th Street cocktails, 5th Avenue/Central Park South reception, and the brand-spanking new Upper West Side after party/Sunday morning brunch.

I originally thought we'd walk from one location to the next, but in that scenario, I see most of our guests collapsing on or around 23rd street.

REVISED: Apple Cab Crawl

Why impossible? Well, I don't know Steve Jobs, and I doubt I ever will. But if I did know him, and I approached him with this idea, I can picture him, sitting across from me in his simple black turtleneck, smiling, saying, Hey, Madman, you know I love you, but this is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Let's go get some coffee and try to forget you ever said anything.

3. A Water Wedding, Per Se

I've never been impressed with the big historic event venues -- The Plaza, The Metropolitan Club, NYPL, the St. Regis, the Mandarin. It's the Manhattan you'll probably see in Sex and the City 2: Unnecessary Opulence in a Time of Recession, but it's not the one that we call home. I tend to lean more toward the unique, unexpected venues as opposed to the traditional ballrooms that are booked three years in advance.

In this scenario, I would treat our guests (90% out-of-towners) to both Manhattans. Our rehearsal dinner would take place in the West Room at the elite Per Se -- part of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle -- with a customized chef's tasting menu. After dinner we would move on to Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center (in the same glass complex) for an intimate evening of jazz planned just for us.

Our Water Wedding the following evening would take place above and below the two rivers that bound the island of Manhattan: the ceremony on the Brooklyn Bridge walkway (seen our website intro page?) and the reception on the other side of the island at the midpoint of the Holland Tunnel. Sure, it's a concrete block surrounded by water, but add some up-lighting and a few strategically placed yellow cabs, headlights giving a whitish glow to the dance floor, and it's an event space.

Why not, Madman?

Uplighting. Couldn't afford the damn uplighting.

May 17, 2010

Hot for SnapKnot

2E's and I were just recently introduced to SnapKnot, a new online resource for brides & grooms that answers that age-old question, 

Crap, now we have to find a photographer?! When is this friggin' process over already??

SnapKnot simplifies the search with a super-easy site that lets you choose your location, limit your price range and view all of the photographers that meet your criteria. And the catchy title doesn't hurt. I thought momentarily stealing the concept -- maybe the GroomKnot, or SnapGroom, or The Groom Says Snap ...

... but no.

Just last week, the guys at the Snap were kind enough to do a feature on The Groom Says -- so check it out here.

much love,

May 16, 2010

How About Here?

My brother, my sister and their wifey and hubby (respectively) spent the weekend with me in New York City, abandoning their kids for three days and flying 2000 miles north to see their significantly younger brother in his first Off-Broadway play.

Needless to say, they loved the play. And they loved the city. And they loved eating and drinking in the city. Drinking in the city. And drinking in the city.

[Smiley-ish face]

Of course, the four of them (in particular the women) are up-to-date on #venuegate and all of the chaos with our last minute venue swap. So, being the helpful siblings that they undoubtedly are, the four of them (again, in particular the women) made it a point to point out every possible venue that they encountered in their 50-hour stay in Manhattan. How about here? How about this? How about that?

When I first met them outside the SoHo Playhouse after our Friday evening performance, my sister was quick to pull out her handy-dandy iPhone and announce, We totally found the perfect venue, and it's in SoHo. What she had photographed was an art gallery of sorts -- a dark, cement-like hole that they'd stumbled across somewhere between Prince and Spring, with very trendy but overwhelmingly ominous, glowing rectangular boxes -- like oversized illuminated coffins -- spaced evenly throughout the grey box. And that's it. Just the coffins. And cement. And darkness.

Looks great, I said.

I was by no means ungrateful. New York is home to what seems like thousands of hidden venues -- many of which we've been lucky enough to discover through fellow bloggers and friends' recommendations.

And they certainly weren't afraid to chime in with rehearsal dinner options. This place is great -- and look, they do birthday parties! Or, We were at this great bar last night...

Just to fill you all in -- 2E's and I have a few options to work with, and all of those venues are on hold for our date at the moment. But, to be honest, we are still rather infatuated with our original location, and we haven't given up hope entirely. We're still waiting for word on this undisclosed event that may or may not disrupt our plans should we decide to stick with the loft. The one thing we know for sure -- we absolutely need to make a decision by the end of the month, which gives us two whole weeks of wiggle room. Two weeks to turn things around at the Loft; or to fall in love with an undiscovered space; or find the beauty and personality in a space we've already seen.

It's true. Time is not our friend. But I did know his roommate at NYU, so maybe he can talk to Time and see if he can pull some strings for us ... but they haven't spoken since, like, 2006, and I think one of them dated the other one's ex, so it's touchy ...

... oh well. We're still breathing.

May 15, 2010

GahGah for GoogleDocs

No, it's by no means a new technology, but it is the first time I've had a legitimate reason to actually use Google's appropriately named GoogleDocs service.

It started with a simple #venuegate spreadsheet -- one that she and I could both view and edit -- one that would hold all the secrets to our ongoing wedding venue hunt.

Then this afternoon I completed a massive project -- an impressive, all-encompassing "wedding element" list, cataloging all wedding-related tasks between now and October 2nd (and onward). It's organized chronologically (thank you, OCD) with additional columns for cost (if applicable) and status. It's color-coded. It's fantastic.

I can hear 2E's response now: "Oh, great, something else I have to update." And right she is. God knows we've got enough things to check off the ever-expanding list, and me -- being the groom -- I would rather spend four hours pouring heart and soul into this spreadsheet as opposed to accomplishing something more significant.

It may very well have been Plato who said, Ordered chaos is still chaos, but chances are it was a bride.

May 14, 2010

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness, But It Does Buy a Kickass Venue and Honeymoon Flights and Other Things We Haven't Encountered Yet But Undoubtedly Will

The title of this post is as long as we are exhausted.

2E's and I have been in a get 'er done mood this week. We've plowed through wedding venue options, sought out rehearsal dinner restaurants, browsed honeymoon resorts and packages on every island under the sun, and realized -- at the end of it all -- that one of us needs to come into a large sum of money, and very quickly, to accomplish this without having a nervous breakdown.

Ohhh, I kid. Oh, Madman, how you exaggerate! You're an exaggerator! I do. I am. My fabrications are almost as boundless as the title of this post is passive aggressive.

I would never name names. I would never write for instance - THE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON LOFT IS ROBBING PEOPLE BLIND! - but I really want to. You want to warn people, spread the word. You want to tell future brides & grooms, "These people just plain suck," and then move on. But it would be cruel. And unfair. And I hate karmic retribution. It's the worst kind of retribution. Karmic.

Things I can share, sans names and details:

(a) No matter what a venue coordinator tells you, ask for a rental fee in advance. They need not be making up pricing on the spot. "Uhhhh ... I can do ... this much." Ideally they should have a email-able PDF of their rates and amenities. If they don't, be sure to get a quote before you hop on the subway, see the space, fall in love with it and then learn that it's $2500 over budget ... at the "discounted" price.

(b) That feeling SUCKS.

(c) There are a lot of scams out there in the world right now, and weddings/events are no exception. Beware of people claiming to be in the field. There are planners, and then there are planners. A shanty made from cloth, stick and found objects is not a venue, even if it is in SoHo.

(d) Adding the word "SoHo" to the name of a venue doubles the price.

(e) Adding the word "Loft" to the end of the name of a venue triples the price.

And there will be times -- not a lot of them, but times -- when you'll walk into a ... I don't know ... let's say a shoe store. Let's say it's a non-profit shoe store. Someone mentioned that they do weddings there, at the shoe store. You couldn't believe it. After all, it's a non-profit shoe store! Who would have thought?!

But you go anyway -- maybe you go to prove that someone wrong -- and when you get there, you're blown away. It's just so bloody unique, you think, to have a wedding in a shoe store. And a non-profit one, for chrissake. I'm sold.

So you sit down with the shoe store salesman, and he gives you the rundown, gives you a tour, lets you sample some shoes, etc. And when he presents you with the proposal ... you want to grab one of the knee-high boots off the high shelf nearby and deck him with it. "You're a shoe store! You're a NON-PROFIT SHOE STORE!! How could you possibly charge this much??"

You know what, I can accept that rent in Manhattan is ridiculous. That maintaining a staff is expensive. That they have to make a profit, at the end of the day ... but when there are perfectly reasonable places with perfectly reasonable rates, you have to wonder what these exorbitant quotes are all about. These venues must have brass Christmas balls to be charging what they do for an 85-person wedding. 

Ohhhh, but I jest. Oh, Madman, I love it when you vent. I love when you use ALL CAPS. It's so COOL. I know, I love it, too. It is cool. Exclamation points and all.

Will keep you all posted.

hugs & kisses,

May 7, 2010

You know you're a groom when...

...your midday fantasies start to go to pieces. It's just a sign that your bachelorhood is going to pieces. That you're slowly losing control over all things, even those things that happen only in your mind.

Exhibit A


Dear Scarlett Johansson,

Let me begin by saying that I was a fan of yours before all these other ass clowns were (especially that Ryan Reynolds chump). I was with you at Ghost World, when you were still a nobody, relatively speaking. I figured we shared something special because we were the same age ... we both lived in New York (or, at least, I would be living there shortly) ... we both appreciate Steve Buscemi and dark indie comedies. I mean, it worked well on paper.

(Scarlett rocked my ghost world as early as 2001.) 

And then I saw you at that Louis Vuitton event on 5th below the park. I was photographing that night. You may remember. I had longer hair then. I was wearing that blue vertical-striped shirt, the blue and white one with the -- anyway ... it's not important ...

... I really came here today (and by here, I mean Starbucks, to utilize their free AT&T provided internet and post this letter disguised as a blog entry) to tell you what a fantastic job you did in Iron Man 2 (I caught this afternoon's showing at the E-Walk in Times Square) and to apologize.

Typical of men, I spent the walk home from the cinema concocting an elaborate fantasy in a parallel universe in which you played a leading role. Well, to be honest, the "elaborate" part is not really typical of all men. That's more typical of me. Most men, I imagine (or so I've heard) keep their fantasies relatively simple, but I feel that this more rushed, passion-free method of fantasizing is a disservice to you. You're an actress -- I'm sure you understand. The elaborate fantasies give you more room to explore, to be free. Better storylines. Justifiable motives. You deserve that kind of pre-production. Anyway ... not the point ...

... The point is that, in this fantasy (in which you were clearly involved), right around when I ran into you for the second time at the fruit stand next to the Museum of Natural History, and you asked me how the dinosaur exhibit was, and I said (very suavely, very Bond), I said, "Hm. Decent," right around then -- I turned down your advances. I told you I was engaged. Which I am. I don't think I ever concealed that. But I never brought it up either. But today I did.

Clearly it means that you have to stop coming over. It's just inappropriate and the hours are all screwy. I mean -- if you want to play chess or something, that's different, you know. If you want to show me some of those moves from the movie -- that one where you seemingly wrapped your legs around that guys head several times, instantaneously killing him -- well, maybe we shouldn't do that one. But chess. Or cheese. And crackers. Sure. We'll hang, you know.

Anyway, thanks for everything. It's been swell.



May 6, 2010

#Venuegate Update

The suffix -gate has been overused to the point of exhaustion in recent months (see Troopergate, Kanyegate, Tigergate, Lohangate) ... so much so that I thought it wouldn't hurt to add one more to the pile.

See: #Venuegate

The # hashtag just makes it that much more official.

2E's and I have moved on from the our original Loft space (though we're still contracted with the venue until we find a new home for our wedding - just in case) and are exploring new options in both Manhattan and BKLYN.

Remember those September days? When we had a list of demands? When we were so cocky and comfy and had oodles of time, and so we demanded that our venue be A and B and C and Z? It had to be modern AND old-fashioned. It had to be rustic AND pristine. It had to be $3,000 or we wouldn't go near it.

Those were the days...

Now 2E's and I are open to a whole slew of venues that we didn't consider before. After all, we're not 13 months out. We've got 5 months. 5 months. That's under 150 days to nail this thing down. We're already behind with invites due to #venuegate (<--- it's more ominous with the -gate, right?), and time is slipping by. Most venues are already booked for 10/2/10. Lucky for us, most of those venues are out of our price range.

On my friend Lindsay's suggestion, I'm checking out the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on Monday and doing a walk-through of the Bathhouse Studios on the East Side tomorrow morning, which I'm particularly excited about. Also checking into the Housing Works Bookstore for either the wedding or the rehearsal dinner -- amazing to think that all of the proceeds from the space benefit homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

So we're still fighting. 2E's is nervous, understandably. So is my mother, who insists this morning that there must be someone in New York with a "house" that we can rent for the evening.

I love you, mom.

Spending tomorrow flipping through's city venue guide and walking into any and all buildings in any and all boroughs, asking if they "do weddings." Welcome to any other suggestions you lovely readers may have to offer. You all smell lovely, by the way.


May 5, 2010

Now In the Naughty Pages...

I am pleased to announce that, as of today, I am a published writer!

Blogging is a true delight -- and such a privilege in a time when the publishing world is undergoing major life changes and is constantly being redefined. We all do take this for granted -- the ability to publish our own work and make it available instantaneously to people all over the world with a single click.

And yet, to put it plainly, seeing your work in a printed paper is pretty incredible ... even if that paper is free ... and even if that work is a sex column (positioned opposite the classy call girl ads), primarily intended as a marketing tool for my play, The Irish Curse.

Read it here.


Groom Takeover on Utterly Engaged

A bunch of blogger grooms took hold of the popular wedding e-zine, Utterly Engaged, trashed their e-warehouse, used up the ink on their e-printers, and then proceeded to write a bunch of well-mannered snippets on being a good 21st century groom.

Check out the full e-zine here. Spoonfuls of wisdom from The Man Registry, Temple of Groom, Ben the Groom, I Am Staggered, Fresh Hubby & The Groom Says begin on page 32.

May 2, 2010

Inspiration #68: Groom Cake

Courtesy of my longtime friend and groomsman, Ulises ... and yes, he is a New Restaurant Opening Manager at Chipotle. Kudos, cake makers!